Basketball enthusiast turned sports journalist Tristan Tucker is taking on the role of managing editor for NC State’s student-run newspaper, Technician. Tucker, a fourth-year studying communication, had a serendipitous introduction to the journalism world. After applying to study civil engineering, Tucker switched to communication with the plan to later transfer into engineering.
“I got in, and then I fell in love,” Tucker said. “I realized everything I could do with a communication degree is a lot more than what people will tell you.”
In his first year at NC State, Tucker connected with the then sports editor of the paper, who got him started as a staff writer for the sports section. Soon enough, Tucker caught the reporting bug.
“I don't think anything is going to match the excitement I felt when I went and worked my first football game,” Tucker said. “The environment there's super professional, super hush hush. Everyone knows what they're doing. It was very intimidating to be in that presence when I was only 18 years old, so I was astonished. I felt very overwhelmed in a good way. It was like sensory overload.”
In Tucker’s third year, he was hired as assistant sports editor and began to branch out into other sections, writing both news and culture articles. He contributed to Technician’s 2020 election guide, which served as a resource for information on both national and local elections.
“We actually went out to different polling locations and talked to people to get some of the statistics,” Tucker said. “That was pretty cool, and that's kind of the moment that I decided that I wanted to be managing editor, so I went through that process and now I'm here.”
As managing editor, Tucker, alongside Editor-in-Chief Jaylan Harrington and Managing Editor Caryl Espinoza Jaen, oversees the running of the paper. At the beginning of the year, he was in charge of filling editorial positions to ensure Technician had a full staff. Throughout the year, he has a number of responsibilities, including doing final reads on all sports and culture articles before publication, performing outreach to recruit new correspondents and managing staff timesheets. This is a large step up in responsibility and commitment from his previous position as assistant sports editor.
“There's that constant sense of something happening,” Tucker said. “There's always something going on at NC State. Just giving myself that room to breathe has been the hardest thing because I'm such a perfectionist. I want to make sure I'm not missing anything. I worry that there's gonna be some breaking news that happens when I sleep, so my sleep schedule is pretty bad.”
Despite the added stress, Tucker cites his involvement with Technician as the best decision of his life.
“I don't say that lightly; I think that I've gotten more from Technician than I have from my classes at NC State,” Tucker said. “That's not a slight to the classes I've taken. It's just that the level of professionalism and attitude and general workplace environment has been so beneficial for me.”
Working in this environment helped Tucker to identify his future career goals where he would like to work in some form for the NBA. To this end he has taken additional courses in statistics, law and journalism to give him some flexibility when entering the field.